On Friday the 28th of November, at the session of the Government Committee on the Prevention of Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing, the members of the committee received an overview of the activities of the Financial Supervision Authority, the Financial Intelligence Unit and the Prosecutor's Office within the last months, concerning investigations of different money laundering cases. It is important, according to the head of the government committee, Minister of Finance Martin Helme that the committee has a regular and up-to-date overview of the state of the ongoing investigations into money laundering cases.
"Our open and international economic environment must be reliable. Estonia is not a place for money laundering. The open treatment of problems is part of our cultural space, but money laundering is certainly not just a problem connected to Northern Europe. This type of crime is international and in fighting against it, the key issue is international cooperation, including the rapid exchange of data.
We are reviewing all cases where money laundering is suspected. It is important that the offence is followed by a justified penalty", explained Martin Helme.
In the coming years, Estonia will be faced with a new evaluation by Moneyval, the Council of Europe's expert committee on combating money laundering and terrorism financing. The committee therefore discussed in detail the condition of the preparatory work required for the evaluation. This time Moneyval will assess how we implement different laws and regulations in practice and what is the actual ability of our institutions to tackle money laundering. It is very important to have a systematic and substantive preparation for the Moneyval evaluation, according to the Minister of Finance Martin Helme. "We must make an effort as a state, because much remains to be done. We must not underestimate the potential risk that Estonia may be included in the list of countries under enhanced supervision in the prevention of money laundering. This has its own very negative consequences for the international reputation of the country, for the financial environment, as well as for the associated administrative burden", said Helme.
The government committee received, concerning the development of the legislative framework, an overview of the state of transposition of the EU's Money Laundering Prevention Directive (AMLD V).
Some of the legislation drafts needed to transpose the directive, such as the draft legislation on increasing fines in the financial sector, have already been approved by the government. All of the legislation drafts needed to improve the prevention of money laundering, according to the plan, will be approved by the government still this year.
The committee also received at the meeting an overview of the current state of conducting the risk assessment of Estonia's domestic money laundering and terrorism financing. The conducting of a national risk assessment is an essential prerequisite for the successful completion of the new Moneyval evaluation.
The activities of the Government Committee on the Prevention of Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing include the formulation of the policy on money laundering and prevention of terrorism, as well as coordination in the mapping of national risks and devising an action plan for their mitigation.
The committee consists of representatives of several ministries, tax and customs authorities, public prosecutor's office, police authorities, Eesti Pank and the Financial Supervision Authority.